Wednesday, December 26, 2012
BOOKAPHILE has a terrific blog post today on the "Problems of Abundance". It's a seasonal issue, that's for sure -- especially when the dessert table is loaded with options!
As my comment on BOOKAPHILE's blog confesses, I did participate in conventional
abundance yesterday -- enjoying my daughter's wonderful spicy smashed potatoes, a fabulous key lime pie brought along by my brother-in-law. A full serving of Christmas dinner. But with some moderation.
Because even for one day, I can't eat without any restraint. Mostly because it's not the immediate calories that are gonna cause me problems -- it's the triggering effect of excessive indulgence going forward.
My leftovers are in the freezer, including all of the raspberry pie I had planned to serve myself. And yeah, it may be that some portion of leftovers will end up in the waste disposal eventually.
But not on my waist: not happening.
So: does that mean absence of holiday joy? Excluding myself from abundance?
No. No. No.
BOOKAPHILE's blog made me recall a hilarious conversation I had with my wonderful hairdresser at my last haircut just before Christmas.
Hair guy is an amazing person who also teaches in the local college aesthetics program, He mentioned to me that he'd set a semester exam using the word "abundance" and one of his students objected strenuously: she had never heard the term before. I suggested to him that maybe for his purposes the definition of "abundance" could involve knotting the hair on top of the head and shimmying the hips . . . yeah!
How sad is that -- to be adult-age and so vocab-challenged as to be unfamiliar with "abundance".
Which reminded me (and I need this reminder continuously) that I'm vocab-challenged myself when it comes to my own definition of abundance. Because to maintain weight loss I've gotta challenge my own persistent association of "abundance" with food, food and more food.
Food only. So if I can't eat whatever I wanna eat I'm deprived. Excluded from abundance. Adam and Eve exiled from Paradise!! Wahhhhhhhhh!!
So long as I persist in that association of abundance as "food only", I'll be at danger for lapsing in my maintenance goals.
To succeed in maintaining weight loss, I've gotta search out and consciously engage with the abundance of pleasure that life has perpetually on offer for me. I have to find different non-food ways of enjoying abundance. Notice them. Savour them.
Because the human experience of abundance IS key to contentment, that's for sure!
And I have to remind myself: even if I think it will, overeating doesn't result in contentment.
Just temporary excess content in my stomach. And permanent excess weight in my jeans!
Thursday, December 20, 2012
*leaning in the fridge and surveying the possibilities*
*opening the cupboard and poking around*
*looking at the menu*
*checking out the banquet table*
"What do I wanna eat?" is never a good question for me.
I wanna eat cheese. With buttered bread. Crusty hot white baguette, preferably. Potato chips (none in my cupboard, of course). Dip. Cookies. Or granola bars if that's all there is, And that's all there is. There. At my house.
Hmm. There is frozen pizza. I could do that. Yeah.
Handfuls of nuts? Yeah!! Spoonfuls of peanut butter? Why not. While the pizza heats up. Sure.
If I'm at a restaurant (where I was planning on a salad till I pick up the menu: that changes everything of course) what happens when I ask myself . . . What do I wanna eat? French fries? Always. Fat juicy cheeseburger? Of course. Large Coke!!
OK then, special occasion banquet table. What do I wanna eat? Deep fried everything, natch. And let's check out the desserts. Chocolate cheesecake looks great. And the hot fudge chocolate brownie sundae. And the chocolate mousse . . . gotta theme going on here. They're all sitting there. Why not one of each? To "share", of course. Or . . . maybe not. Just this once.
Gotta face facts. I wanna eat all of 'em.
In unlimited quantities, basically. Every day.
So "What do I wanna eat" isn't the question if the answer I'm looking for is . . . a healthy, fit and slim body.
What would be the right question? It's gotta be, " What do I need to eat?"
Food is fuel. Yes it is.
If I'm asking the right question, the Spark nutrition tracker is very helpful. That's because the nutrition tracker isn't just counting calories. It's counting carbs, fats and proteins. Mine is also set to track a whole whack of other nutrients: minerals and vitamins and fibre and . . . yeah.
So if it's suppertime and I've still got 400 calories to "spend" . . . what do I need? More protein? Probably. And calcium too? A little vitamin C still missing? Yup. So what to choose? If I ask myself, "What do I need to eat?", then the answer would be, maybe, some fat free Greek yogourt? Some fresh raspberries?
How self-depriving is that? Taking all the fun out of life. *big pout*
OK. News flash. Asking myself what I need instead of what I want is NOT self-depriving at all.
Remarkably enough, what tastes best is what my body needs. Maybe I don't believe it, not in the moment, when the cheesecake is screaming at me. But 20 minutes from now, if I eat the cheesecake I won't feel so good. Might still not be feeling so good tomorrow, even.
But if I eat the yogourt and raspberries: I will feel good. And does anything actually taste better than fresh raspberries?
Gotta remind myself: I'll feel good if I eat what I need. Not what I "want". What I REALLY wanna eat is what I need to eat. Really.
Gotta keep right on reminding myself of this. Every day.
The real treat is treating myself well.
Giving myself what I need. When I do that, consistently, and when I have a healthy, fit and slim body, there are so many other ways to have fun. Real fun.
Eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted made me 230 pounds. And that was actually . . . no fun at all.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
If I eat 10 extra calories a day, I'll put on 1 pound in a year. And next year. And the year after. And in 10 years I'll have put on 10 extra pounds.
If I eat 100 extra calories a day, I'll put on 10 pounds in a year. And next year. And the year after. And in 10 years I'll have put on 100 extra pounds.
What's an extra calorie? A calorie I don't need to maintain the pounds I want to sustain. Which takes about 10 calories a pound a day. About 1400 calories a day. Max,
What's 10 extra calories? Not much. Maybe a couple baby carrots.
What's 100 extra calories? Not much more. A big apple.
The carrots are healthy. The apple is too.
And calories from nutritionally-dense healthy foods are obviously better for me than calories from junk foods, or nutritionally empty foods.
But for weight maintenance, it doesn't matter. Extra calories from healthy foods pile on the pounds just the same as extra calories from candy or chips or Coke.
When I'm on the elliptical cross trainer at the gym, I can see that burning 10 extra calories takes me about 1 minute of really vigorous effort.
Which means I can never exercise enough to compensate for over-eating. Weight loss and weight loss maintenance for me are 80% nutrition tracking. At least.
OK then. It's not the season of healthy foods. I'm not eating too many spears of new young asparagus or fresh raspberries, or blueberries, or even lightly steamed shrimp.
It's the season of crunchy pastry-wrapped appetizers and bacon-wrapped appetizers and fatty dips and stuffing, gravy, butter-mashed potatoes, hot rolls and butter and turkey with crisp skin and cranberry sauce and veggies drenched in more butter and sauces and . . . . It's the season of shortbread and eggnog and Yule logs (dessert variety) and pies and special cookies and special candies and chocolate covered almonds and . . . . It's the season of too many alcoholic drinks on offer which reduce my resistance to all of the preceding!
I'm just reminding myself. Little pep talk here. Those calories do add up and my body is tracking them, whether *I* track them or not.
Grrrrrrr. Determination, resilience, eternal vigilance. All continue to be necessary. Every day.
That's because It's also the season of little black dresses! It's the season of sleek black velvet trousers with sparkly tops! Trying something new with the hair, the makeup! Not the season of muu-muus and huge shapeless Tshirts and elastic-waist track pants and . . . no no no.
And: there's a connection here. Right?
Yeah. So: call 911 vanity assist, please. Vanity assist!! If that'll help, I'm gonna work it . . . yes I am!!
Sunday, December 09, 2012
I've read a couple of interesting insights into dog "ownership" recently.
Here in Canada, several universities have experimented with therapy dogs to assist students get through the stress of exam time. The students are away from home, under lots of pressure to do well in a tight job economy with soaring tuition fees . . . and student suicide rates are alarming. But: there are still lots of cynical comments about how students should just "toughen up"!! And also how exposure to trained therapy dogs will give students a false impression about how soothing and calming dogs actually are: because lots of dogs (especially young puppies) can be yappy and demanding and . . . . .
Then TEENYBIKINI has had a recent blog on just that topic: dogs (puppies in particular) can drive you nutz!
True enough. I've had demanding dogs. Our basset hound, Rufus, who could open the fridge and bite into every bag of milk and scatter carrots (before and after "processing") all the way across the kitchen floor. Our Irish water spaniel, Sabrina, who wore a groove in the back yard and jumped against the patio door vertically, smearing mud from top to bottom. A childhood spaniel, Skippy, who bit the postman . . . and lots more similar tales to be told.
Charlie had lots and lots of puppy socialization and obedience classes. He is extraordinarily intelligent: high IQ. And our other dogs had sufficient IQ plus schooling opportunities. But Charlie wanted to learn.
That's because Charlie really is a wonder dog. High EQ. He was born that way and we really can't take much credit for it. Our golden retriever's registration name is "Heart of Gold", and his formal handle is absolutely appropriate.
So what's Charlie taught me?
1. Be companionable. Golden retrievers are bred to sit quietly in a duck blind beside their hunters waiting to fetch the ducks. Charlie is happy just to be with me. He lets me know with his wise brown eyes and his ready smile. Life doesn't get better for Charlie than being right beside me.
2. Be patient. It could be a long cold day in the duck blind (or sitting under my computer desk: whatever). That's OK with Charlie. I can learn to be more patient. Whatever's happening will pass.
3. Greet every family member at the door whenever they come home. Nope, I don't wag like Charlie does. I don't bring a carefully selected stuffed toy to the door, the choice of toy often uncanny in mirroring the returning person's emotional state. (Sheep? Monkey? Fawn?) But greeting, I can handle that. And I can try to be responsive to the mood of my family members, like Charlie is.
4. Never judge, no matter what. There is no sin I can commit that matters to Charlie. Ever. And I need to be less judgmental too. To let people be.
5. Be joyous and generous with that joy. Charlie is. Being around Charlie's joy multiplies joy. For all of us. Even if the rest of us don't have infinitely soft golden fur!
The worst thing about having a dog like Charlie? It's not forever. Charlie is 8 years old now. You can see his muzzle and eyebrows are getting whiter.
So we have to cherish Charlie every day.
And we have to cherish each other every day.
I can't let Charlie down. I have to try to be as good a person as Charlie is. As good as he believes me to be. And the effort of doing that?
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